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A letter to past donors

Hello! It’s been almost two years since we hauled our play across the country on the backs of our bikes. Your generous donations paid for food, campsites, bike repair and made it possible for us to perform for free in communities across the county. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Since then, we’ve scattered – settling in new places, starting new jobs, continuing on with life. But as we reminisced, the idea of another project started to percolate. We wanted to build on what we had learned about making a play and touring it on bikes. And after biking 4,600 miles, we finally felt like we knew where to begin.

We said, “Next time, we want it to be more theatre and less pushing ourselves to the brink.” “Next time we don’t just want to bike through rural places, we want to stop and perform there as well.” “Next time we want to do theatre and bike workshops with the communities we enter.”

As we imagined our next project, we decided to focus on a single state – to create a play while immersed in the sights, sounds and history of the place, and to share it with the people that live there. But where should we do it?

Then we remembered a standing invitation to perform at the Whitefish Bike Retreat in Whitefish, Montana. When we thought about it, Montana seemed the perfect spot! It’s rural, doesn’t have much we could find in the way of new theatre, is home to Adventure Cycling Association (the bike touring experts) and it’s not too shabby on the eyes, either.

The past few months have reinforced the notion that our country is divided. But we want to resist this story and actively work to find common ground among people from across the political and cultural spectrum. Montana would provide just the opportunity.

This year, our team is made up of Rascals – some old and some new. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to find more needles-in-the haystack – people from all over whose imaginations were captivated by the thought of spending the summer sharing theatre on bicycles. (Not unlike you Kickstarter donor!)

We hope that as we continue making bicycle touring theatre, we’ll build up a vast network of Rascals from all over, and have the opportunity to work with former collaborators in the future. Once a Rascal, always a Rascal.

Okay, here’s the truth: we really didn’t want to do another crowdfunding campaign. We had hoped to get our funding elsewhere, but well, the learning curve for arts funding is a slow slog. And there’s not much funding for projects that don’t have a 3+ year track record and don’t fit easily into any funding categories, like bicycle theatre.

But when faced with canceling the trip or crowdfunding again, the choice was a given. So this year, we’re working with Hatchfund, – a crowdfunding platform specifically for artists. They’ve been incredibly supportive, and it’s been very refreshing to work with an organization so invested in helping artists get funding to do their work. (Much like you, Kickstarter donor!)

What the Montana project lacks in “OMG! They’ve gotta be nuts!” we are making up for with a rigorous but realistic model for bringing innovative theatre to new audiences, traveling and engaging in a sustainable way.

Check out our new video, with footage from our coast-to-coast tour, details about our next project, and music by resident Rascal, Jaren Feeley:

Any donation over $20 will get a copy of our illustrated ‘zines about bike maintenance and theatre games. These sweet ‘zines are being made especially for our trip by 2015 alum, Fenner, to hand out at our performances and workshops.

The arts aren’t a luxury! And now more than ever, the arts need your support to exist! Agile Rascal needs your help so together we can bring cool theatre to far out places. We really can’t do it without you!

And of course, tell your friends about us, especially in Montana! Follow us on Facebook, sign up for our mailing list, say hi online, come meet us on the road or invite us to sleep in your backyard!

See you on the road!

Much love, The Agile Rascals


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